I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about next until about 10 minutes ago in the car when Rachel Patton’s “Fight Song” came on. Tears filled up my eyes as I belted out the words at the top of my lungs. Then a smile slowly spread across my face, Hi Bevy, I heard you. I’ll never forget dancing around in your living room with you while we sang this song.
Sharing Our People
Like I said in a previous post, blended families mean more people to love and support our children, and if we’re lucky, us too. Beverly Rieves was hands down (other than my grandma) the best person I have ever known. I was lucky enough to have her beautiful soul in my life for 5 years because of this crazy big blended family. Bev was Crystal’s (my husband’s ex-wife) aunt, but to me and my children, she was just “Aunt Bevy.” This blended family brought this woman into my life, into my family. My life is better because she was in it.
We lost Bevy 2 years ago after a 4 year battle with Leiomyosarcoma. LMS is a rare soft tissue cancer and a real motherfucker. They say they good die young. That couldn’t be truer in this case. She was the most loving, gentle soul I have ever met. To know her was to love her. She lit up a room and her smile was infectious. She was a single mom to a teenage son who was her entire world.
She was a nurse by profession. We were blessed to attend a ceremony at work where she was awarded “Nurse of the year.” It truly was her passion, her life’s work, her legacy, and her second family. In case you didn’t know, nurses are low key like a biker gang, They protect their own and when the going gets tough they show up…in droves ready to go to battle with you! When Bev got sick it was truly a testament to a life well lived to see the way that people showed up for her and her son Connor. When Bevy was involved, there was never a shortage of love.
Love Really is Healing
If you have ever read through my “about us’ page, then you know that once upon a time, things weren’t so great between us and my husband’s ex. Hell, they were barely friendly at times. That never affected the way Bevy treated my husband or myself. When it came up she would always just say to me, “I love them both and I want them both to be happy.” She’s one of the biggest reasons I began to believe that we could do better, for ourselves, and for our children. There was enough love to go around. She just set all the mess and shit aside and just loved us all regardless, that’s it. It was that simple.
Bev immediately took to my children and myself, just brought us right under her wing. That was Bevy, if she loved you, that was that…she loved you with everything she had. She had this calming, almost healing aura to her. In a weird way, I feel like she was the glue that helped bind us all together. Her battle with LMS came about a year into our relationship and suddenly this love that we all shared for her seemed to break down the last bullshit that stood between our two families.
Bev would show up to the boys’ games with Crystal and her mom and her grandma sometimes, and we would all watch and cheer the boys on together. These are days I will cherish for the rest of my life. This battle that ultimately stole her from all of us was kind of healing for this entire family, it brought us closer together. Some people might think that is kind of screwed up to say, but I’m more of a glass half full kinda person. I like to pull the light from the darkness, and besides, that is EXACTLY what Bevy would have wanted me to do. Be positive. She was the most positive human being I have ever met, right up until her death. Bev never let the cancer steal the joy from her life. I’ve never seen anyone face death with the bravery and love in their heart like she did.
Sharing Our Grief
I’ll never forget where I was or what I was doing when Crystal called me to tell me that it was cancer and that it wasn’t good. Yes. She called me and not Patrick. Sometime before that, I decided to step up and become the go-between with him and Crystal. Now some people are going to be all judgy wudgy when they read that and say that it wasn’t my place, blah blah blah. To those people I respectfully say, Piss off.
First of all, those two had way too much water under the bridge; they were fucking drowning. They could barely communicate without ripping each other’s heads off. Someone had to do something. Secondly, I love this man, and his children, they are my family now. My family’s peace and happiness are ALWAYS my place. Besides, it fucking works for us. The main relationship is between Crystal and I. Pat and her husband Doug are there too, but us ladies handle most of the business. I’ll tell you this, women that empower each other can change the world.
Bevy’s first surgery was major. Like, they couldn’t give us odds on her making it through, major. That day, Crystal 100% kept me updated on Bev’s condition, and not because I asked her to. During those next 4 years would we stand hugging and cry or share tears over the phone many times. Some happy, some sad. The important thing is that they were with an unspoken understanding, a shared grief, borne out of a shared love. Much like the love we share for our children, who all took Bevy dying pretty hard.
Crystal if you are reading this, I still remember that time we met at the Mobile gas station off the Lapeer exit before Bev’s surgery. I could see that you had been crying, and lord knows I certainly had been and I just hugged you and we cried for a minute. I remember it because it was honestly the first time I stopped and realized, ” Well shit, I genuinely care about this woman.” Like I seriously cared that you were so sad, it made me sad. I always looked at you differently after that.
I’ve shared tears and memories with Bev’s family, friends, and co-workers since her passing. She was loved and is missed by so many.
Fuck Cancer, Seriously
In the last few weeks of Bev’s life, we all made sure to try to spend what time we could with her. The last conversation I had with her the day before she died is such a testament to who she was. She laid there and rubbed my VERY pregnant belly. I was crying, and she said, ” Is this scary for you? Is Patrick going to be ok?” The woman was lying on her freaking death bed making sure we were ok! That’s just who she was, always more concerned with others than she was herself. This was a person you aspire to be like. I tell our kids that all the time. “Be like Bev,be that light in the world.” It is beautiful and it is lacking today. The world lost a truly special soul on July 4, 2017. Not many people touch the number of people’s lives in the way Bevy did.
During those weeks I watched as Bevy’s sister, Brenda (Crystal’s mom) along with her mother, Carol, and Crystal cared for her in her final days. I watched her son attempt to process this all, the weight of the world on his shoulders. My heart just broke for them. Now I think about it and cry. I cry because I now fully understand that walk. Since Bev has died, I have lost my grandmother and my father, both of whom I cared for until they died. There is definitely a special strength it takes to care for someone you love in-home until their last breath. The burden of grief is heavy and complicated. Ladies, if you are reading this: you are amazing. What you gave of yourselves to give her the last days that she deserved is truly selfless. It is the stuff real love is made of.
We are all better because we knew Beverly Ann Rieves; we try to be better people because of her. I can pretty much guarantee not a single person who knew her would say otherwise. I am so thankful for this life I live and these people who I get to live it with. Here’s to you Bevy, I hope you’re dancing in the sky.